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What Essential Oils Are Good for Headaches?

by Bubbly Belle


Posted on Oct 21, 2020


Headaches are all too common. With everything going on in the world plus all of our usual stressors, headaches have recently become even more of a bother to even more of us. If you’re one of the 78% of people who suffer from headaches, you understand just how unpleasant that thumping on the back of the head is and how much of an annoyance it can be. 


Headaches affect over one-third of men and over half of all women in America. That’s waayy too many people experiencing throbbing, pressure, and dull, aching pain. Life is busy and schedules are hectic--there’s no time to be weighed down by a stubborn headache that brings a sad, gloomy cloud over your entire day. 


Sometimes it can feel like all the aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol in the world won’t be able to stop that banging going on inside your head - we’ve been there, we feel for you. Even if those medications do make the pain go away, reaching for that pill bottle more than twice a week could actually be making your headaches worse. 


Regularly popping those (at the time) seemingly life-saving pills can induce something called “medication overuse headaches.” Medication overuse headaches, or “rebound headaches,” are triggered by regular, long-term use of these popular pills that treat our throbbing heads. The good news is that these types of headaches generally stop when you stop taking pain medication. You probably see the dilemma in this.


If pain medication may be making the frequency and duration of our headaches worse, what are we supposed to do!? Cue essential oils. 


Essential Oils 

You may already know all about essential oils and the abundance of joys and benefits that they bring to many people. Essential oils are aromatherapy that is used as a natural, holistic, and simple home remedy for a variety of benefits. Drumroll, please - including easing the occasional headaches!


Essential oils are derived from plants such as leaves, herbs, and barks. The aromatic chemicals are extracted from the plant by either the process of distillation or mechanical methods like cold pressing. The concentrated oil that is produced captures the plants’ natural essence (its scent and flavor). There are over 90 essential oils; each comes with their own unique set of characteristics that offer different benefits. 


With a rapidly increasing number of people hopping on the natural wellness bandwagon, it’s probably time for you to give it a chance, too. Botanicals are actually the most ancient form of alternative medical treatments that still exist today. Studies have shown that certain essential oils can relieve feelings of stress, which is the number one trigger for headaches. 


Let’s back up a few steps and talk about which essential oils are best to help provide some feelings of relief and relaxation in the face of the occasional headache. We’ve done all the research, so you don’t have to. Here are the results!


There are 5 essential oils that are tried and true for helping to soothe you when you need it the most!

Peppermint 

Peppermint essential oil has been used in ancient and alternative medicines for thousands of years. To this day it is still one of the most popular essential oils to soothe your mind when that throbbing headache rears its head. 


Peppermint oil provides a cooling effect, which, when applied to the skin, can help to provide a soothing and calming feeling to mild aches and pains. Because of this cooling effect, peppermint oil is not recommended for young children or babies because the menthol can cause a burning sensation on their sensitive skin. 


Make sure that you always dilute peppermint essential oil (and all other essential oils) with a carrier oil before applying topically--essential oils are very strong and should never be applied directly to the skin without a carrier oil, and should also generally never be ingested by mouth.


Lavender

Lavender essential oil is most commonly used for stress relief and relaxation, along with easing feelings of uneasiness or restlessness. 


Lavender’s soothing effects may be able to help provide some temporary relief for headache pain. 


Lavender is a pleasant, all-around calming scent that is highly relaxing and brings many people the feeling of serenity and restfulness - this is likely why it’s also very popular to use around bedtime. Many people also like to use lavender essential oil as a tool during massage therapy for this reason. 


Rosemary

Think beyond the culinary herb, think “healing” herb. 


Rosemary essential oil has powerful soothing properties, which has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years. It can reduce feelings of stress, provide mild pain relief, and support circulation. It’s another oil that is used to promote calmness and relaxation, too, which is always a plus when dealing with a headache, and is helpful in rosemary’s other common use to support emotional wellness. 


Chamomile

You’re already feeling more relaxed just reading the word “chamomile,” right? Everyone knows that sitting down with a hot cup of chamomile tea is the perfect way to relax after a stressful day. So, it’s no surprise that chamomile oil made our list for the best essential oils for helping to promote relaxation during a headache. 


Chamomile oil relaxes the body, calms muscles, and can promote feelings of relaxation. Chamomile oil also has soothing properties, which can help to temporarily alleviate the pain that goes along with headaches. 


Pregnant women should not use chamomile oil as it has been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.


Eucalyptus

The oil extracted from Eucalyptus trees is extremely versatile; it’s used for flavoring and fragrance, for herbal remedies, and of course, is great for helping to provide you some temporary relief from painful headaches. 


Many headaches are either caused by or come accompanied by sinus issues like a stuffy nose and sinus tension. If you have one without the other, the other is unfortunately likely to follow. 


Eucalyptus oil can help soothe the nasal passages and sinuses. This relief of mild congestion can almost instantly relieve some of the discomfort and pressure coming from the headache. 


How to Use Essential Oils

So, now you know the five essential oils to reach for next time you feel that awful headache or migraine coming on. While the right essential oils definitely do feel like heavenly remedies, they’re not to be ingested the way that oral medicines are. Though we briefly mentioned it earlier, let’s go a little deeper into how to actually use essential oils. 


Ingesting essential oils is extremely dangerous and can cause significant poisoning even with the smallest amount. Essential oils can be applied topically or emitted into the air with an air diffuser.  


For topical application, essential oils will come in a bottle or as a roll-on. 


Buying a bottle may allow for more versatile use. You can add drops to a bath or inhale it by putting some on a tissue and then holding it under your nose. A bottle will also allow you to simply put some on your finger and apply it to the desired area.


A roll-on bottle is one of our favorite ways to use essential oils because it’s easy, quick, and less likely to cause a mess. A roll-on applicator makes it easy to target the desired treatment area and gives you more control over the dosage you wish to use. Best of all, our roll-on formulas are ready to roll right onto your skin and don’t need to be diluted or prepared with a carrier oil!


An air diffuser will deliver an electric aroma of your essential oils. An air diffuser like our beloved Bubbly Home Essential Oil Diffuser uses ultrasonic technology to pump tiny oil particles into the air and spread the essence up to 500 sq ft. An air diffuser is a great way to use essential oils if you wish to fill a room with your chosen scent. 


Your 5 New Saviors

Many, many people suffer from headaches - but you don’t have to be one of them! Essential oils are so much more than their pleasant and relaxing aromas, they have an array of healthful benefits too. 


Peppermint, Lavender, Rosemary, Chamomile, and Eucalyptus essential oils can all help soothe away those feelings of tension and dull aches when a headache start to form. 


Next time you feel a headache coming on, reach for one of these five essential oils, and bring calm into your world, and your head, naturally. 






Sources:

https://headaches.org/2007/11/19/headache-categories/

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/how-common-are-headaches

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/medication-overuse-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20377083 

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-alternative-complementary-medicine-therapies-market

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17211115/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/


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